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West Vancouver Blue Bus Workers Overwhelmingly Approve Strike Authorization

ATU Local 134 unionized transit operators, mechanics, and servicemen vote 99% to take strike action if necessary, to serve 72-hour strike notice immediately


WEST VANCOUVER – Frustrated with a lack of progress in contract talks with West Vancouver District, West Vancouver’s Blue Bus conventional drivers, community shuttle drivers, servicemen, and mechanics have voted overwhelmingly 118 yes votes to 1 no vote in favour of taking strike action – if necessary. 82% of the membership turned out to vote. 

Cornel Neagu, President of Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 134, representing the workers, said his members are completely fed up that West Vancouver District and its elected Council have refused to negotiate over the key items of breaks for drivers and wage parity for community shuttle drivers to match conditions all other Metro Vancouver drivers have long received.

“We want a new contract, not job action, but we will do whatever it takes to reach a new collective agreement that treats our members as fairly as all other transit operators in Metro Vancouver,” Neagu said.  “In order to give our riders notice, we are filing a 72-hour strike notice today and implementing an immediate overtime ban and uniform ban to start on Saturday, July 23rd at 1 p.m. and to continue until a new contract is reached.”

The union says West Vancouver District is wrongly blocking any negotiations that would lead to parity for Blue Bus transit operators on washroom breaks, turnaround time breaks, and wages for community shuttle drivers, which are $3.30 an hour below every other driver in Metro Vancouver.  

“We drive the same buses, do the same difficult job, and need the same pay and the same breaks from safely driving our valued West Vancouver and North Shore riders,” Neagu said. “We are not asking for anything more than what all other Metro Vancouver transit operators currently receive under their Coast Mountain Bus Company contract. Why is West Vancouver penalizing Blue Bus drivers?”  

West Vancouver District has been obstructing negotiations since November of 2021 when the union asked bargaining to begin.  ATU Local 134 was forced to file an unfair labour practice complaint with the BC Labour Relations Board just to get to the table with an LRB-appointed Mediator, but talks quickly broke down when the employer refused to consider parity with other bus drivers.  

Even though the current contract expired on March 31, West Vancouver has been stalling serious negotiations, forcing the union to take a strike vote.

“There is no reason for any job action that would disrupt Blue Bus service except that West Vancouver District will not bargain fairly with our members,” said Neagu. “We can reach a new collective agreement in a day if West Vancouver’s Mayor and Council direct their negotiators to stop obstructing and start bargaining.” 

ATU Local 134 has 150 members who operate and maintain West Vancouver’s Blue Bus system of 64 buses that transport about 18,000 passenger trips per day.

“Our members are the life-blood of West Vancouver. They have bravely reported for work each day to keep West Vancouver moving over the past few difficult years,” said ATU International President John Costa, pledging the support of the ATU’s 200,000 members working at transit systems throughout North America. “This vote sends a loud and clear message to West Vancouver District and its elected Council. It’s time to come to the table and give our members the fair and just contract that they deserve.”